Gang-rapists sentenced to 9-21 years

One of the victims says the four attackers should have been "given life sentences and castrated."

The Haifa District Court sentenced four youths to between nine and 21 years in jail Monday for a series of gang-rapes. The mob raped three young women in the North over recent years. Two of the four were convicted of three rapes while the other two were convicted of one. One of the men, Salem Hamed Hujeirat, was sentenced to 23 years, including a three-year suspended sentence. A one-year suspended sentence given to him for past offenses was also put into effect, and he will be imprisoned for 21 years in total. Another member of the gang, Allah Yusser Hujeirat, was sentenced to 15 years, including a three-year suspended sentence. The remaining two gang members participated in one rape and were each sentenced to 12 years, including three-year suspended sentences. One of the latter is a minor. In addition, they were ordered to heavily compensate each of the victims. The four were convicted after admitting to their crimes as part of a deal between prosecutor Ilana Fikus Rottblit from the Haifa District Attorney's office and the defendants' attorney. The judges wrote in the verdict that because of the youngsters' severe crimes they deliberated whether to approve the deal, and decided to do so to avoid bringing the victims to the witness stand. The crimes were committed between December 2005 and November 2006. In all cases, the victims were either hitchhiking or forced into the gang's car and taken to a remote location where they were raped violently. The offenders were apprehended after a long investigation which involved taking DNA samples from hundreds of potential suspects. They denied the allegation at first but admitted to the crimes when the attorneys struck the deal. One of the victims said after the sentence that the four should have been "given life sentences and castrated," but added that "if I can survive such a thing, any woman can."